Growth Groups week Three:
The right motive to follow jesus

Reading Plan:
Day 1: Matthew 21-22
Day 2: Matthew 23-24
Day 3: Matthew 25-26
Day 4: Matthew 27-28
Day 5: Rom 1-2

Memory verse:

John 3:36
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Focal passage: Matthew 4:18-22

Last week we saw what it means to repent, turn towards God, and do works befitting repentance. We learned that true repentance is turning toward God. This week we want to examine what turning to God actually looks like. To find that answer we need to start at the original call of Jesus to His disciples. As Jesus began His ministry, He chose those that would follow Him. His message to them was “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” It seems pretty simple. We are simply called to follow Jesus. But as we will see in the weeks to come, Jesus’s calling to follow Him is a radical call that will produce radical transformation in our lives.

In Matthew 4:20, 22 the disciples respond to the call by “forsaking all” to follow Jesus. But today in America, and most western cultures, we see people coming to Jesus and to His church for very different reasons. People may be flocking to churches because of the great music, a feel good message, friendship or community. Or some people are coming hoping that God would fix their problems, bring healing, make their children well behaved, or save their marriage. The motives for people coming to Jesus or going to church are varied for sure. 
But if you come to Jesus for these things and they don’t happen for you, you will find that when times get tough, you will abandon Jesus. Coming to Jesus for the right reasons is an important foundation to our faith. In the weeks to come we will examine what the right and biblical reasons are in coming to Jesus. 

In summary we must come to Him because we are in need of salvation from the judgment to come. We must recognize that He is the only way to God  and without Him we are hopelessly lost in our sins (John14:6). If we come to Jesus for any other reason then to be saved from our sin and the wrath of God, we have come to Jesus for the wrong reason. 
(see additional notes for a powerful eye-opening illustration and sermon on this topic from Ray comfort)

1. Be absolutely honest, what is the initial reason that you came to Jesus? Discuss.
2. Have you come to Jesus Christ to save you from your sins and to receive the forgiveness that can only be found in Him? If your reason was anything different than salvation from your sin, has that changed today? Explain?
3. Read Romans 6:23. According to this verse, what are the wages of sin? According to this verse, have you recognized that you deserve (you’ve earned) the wrath of God to be poured out on you in judgment for your sins? If not, please discuss with group. If so, was that a hard concept to digest? If so, please explain.
4. If we came to God so He can fix our problems or make our lives easier, we have come to Him with wrong motives. Many times we become disappointed or maybe even angry with God when things aren’t going the way we think they should. In those times we act as though God owes us something and this could be a sign that we have come to God for the wrong reasons. How can coming to God for the right reasons help us in our response to trying circumstances in our life?
5. Are you willing to forsake all to follow Jesus? What does that look like for you?

Additional notes:
Here is a great illustration from Ray comfort taken from his message “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”; 

here’s a link to the full audio teaching

Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first because he can’t see how wearing a parachute in a plane could possibly improve a flight. After a time he decides to experiment and see if the claim is true. As he puts it on he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and he finds that he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he was told the parachute would improve the flight, so he decides to give the thing a little time. As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him because he’s wearing a parachute in a plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they begin to point and laugh at him, he can stand it no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because, as far as he was concerned, he was told an outright lie.
The second man is given a parachute, but he’s told to put it on because at any moment he’d be jumping 25,000 feet out of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on; he doesn’t notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without that parachute.
Let’s analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience. The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated by the passengers; he was disillusioned and somewhat embittered against those who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned it’ll be a long time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again. The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to come, and because of his knowledge of what would happen to him without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward those who gave him the parachute is one of heart-felt gratitude.
Now consider what the modern gospel says. It says, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.” In other words, “Jesus will improve your flight.” So the sinner responds, and in an experimental fashion, puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true. And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution. The other passengers mock him. So what does he do? He takes off the Lord Jesus Christ, he’s offended for the word’s sake (Mark 4:17), he’s disillusioned and somewhat embittered, and quite rightly so. He was promised peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness, and all he got were trials and humiliation. His bitterness is directed toward those who gave him the so-called “good news.” His latter end becomes worse than the first—another inoculated and bitter backslider. Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be warning the passengers they’re going to have to jump out of the plane, that it’s “appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).